Same-Sex Etiquette: The Same?

mary, when was the last time you thanked your date?Q Dear Miss Abigail:

One of the difficulties of same-sex relationships is figuring out the etiquette of dating. Do I open the door or does she? Do I offer to pay half the check, even if she has asked me out to dinner? Who decides when it is time for the end of the evening smooch? I know in this era everyone seems to be confused about gender roles, but if you could give me some advice to help make my dates a little smoother, I would be extremely appreciative.

Shelly, a Sister

A Dear Sister:

Unfortunately, the majority of my books (ok, maybe ALL of my books) do not discuss same-sex relationships in a positive light. But Miss Abigail does not discriminate, and feels that dating advice for boy-girl relationships should work equally as well for girl-girl or boy-boy relationships.

So put your imagination caps on and let’s all pretend that the references to “boy,” “he,” “him,” and “his” in the following paragraphs are actually “girl,” “she,” “her” and “hers.” Oh, and don’t forget to ignore the comment claiming that clinging “too closely to members of your own sex” is a bad idea.

If you can do all of that and not lose your mind, then I think you’re ready for same-sex dating!

1963: Is It Wrong to Kiss a Boy on the First Date?

There is nothing wrong about a brief, affectionate goodnight kiss which will not arouse passion. Do not feel, however, that he won’t ask you out again unless you kiss him the first night or that you must repay him for the coke and hamburger he bought you. This is too high a price to pay, even if you had a large coke.

When You Approach a Door with Another Person

Stand aside and indicate by word or gesture that you would like her to go first. Should it entail less effort for you to go first (perhaps to open the door or to turn on a light switch), excuse yourself and precede. Your reason for such an action should be quite obvious to her.

Source: Culkin, Anne. Charm for Young Women. New York: Deus Books, 1963.
~ pp. 107, 127 ~

1967: Enjoying a Date

You and your date have mutually decided where you are going. You have taken care to be dressed appropriately. You have taken pains to be clean and neat. But even these precautions don’t insure success on a date. A date is wholly satisfying only when each person is considerate of the other. Dating is not fun if either of you:

~~ flirts conspicuously with others
~~ brags about previous conquests
~~ gossips about other dates
~~ clings too closely to members of your own sex
~~ avoids participation in the activities
~~ makes an issue over minor mishaps

Such behavior is essentially a lack of courtesy, and it can really keep you from enjoying each other. Often one or more of these breaches of etiquette can lose you a second date with your escort.

Courtesy Is More Than Manners

If may seem out of place to bring up courtesy here. You may feel that, of course, you are naturally courteous to all your acquaintances. But it might be a good idea to take stock of yourself to see just how courteous you really are. Mary, when was the last time you thanked your date as he held the door for you? John, when was the last time you helped your date out of the car instead of leaving her to fend for herself? Do you always remember to thank your date’s parents for “that wonderful dinner”? How often do you tell your date how much you enjoyed the evening? All of these things are just common courtesy. It seems, however, that the more we date a particular person, the more we take him or her for granted.

A fellow may say to himself, “Of course I enjoyed the date; she knows that.” Yet think how good it would make her feel if he told her once in a while. How much more her parents would think of him if the boy stuck his head in the door and told them how much he enjoyed this evening. Such courtesies go a long way toward making a boy a good date and a pleasant companion.

Source: Duvall, Evelyn Millis. The Art of Dating. New York: Association Press, 1967.
~ pp. 125-26 ~